An Official OC Welcome to Ms. Wall

Dallas Mercurio '20, Co Editor-in-Chief

   Although Ms. Wall began at teaching at Oakland in the middle of the spring of last year as a long term substitute teacher, the Eagle Eye didn’t get a proper chance to welcome the history department’s newest addition until this fall edition. A fellow musical theater enthusiast and Mr. Roger’s admirer, I jumped at the chance to sit down and get to know Ms. Wall better.


Where did you grow up? And if you aren’t originally from Pittsburgh, how did you make your way to Pittsburgh?


I grew up in Pittsburgh, just north of the city in Shaler. I knew by the time I was in college that I wanted to try and stay in Pittsburgh. It’s such a wonderful place to live. It’s the best.


What inspired you to pursue a career in teaching? What inspired you to teach history?


That’s kind of a funny question. It was a combination of a lot of things. By the time I was in high school, I started thinking about things that I’m good at and things I enjoy. Naturally, I’m good at talking to people. I have the confidence to talk in front of a lot of people every day, which is necessary for teaching. 

My interest in teaching history developed over time for many different reasons. In high school, I had a wonderful social studies department. Senior year, we had the best teacher. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, but I knew that I wanted to do it like him because he was so dedicated to the students. By the time I reached college, I knew I was going into education and I said to myself, “This is going to be a very fun career path.”


Why do you think it is important to learn history?


First off, I think it’s just interesting to learn about where we as societies have come from. I don’t want to sound cliche, but I think it’s very necessary and important to look at both the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. We can have some lessons to take away from them. 


What inspired your love for history?


I would have to say, I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that really values education. I really liked going to school from an early age. When I was about eight, my family and I went on a field trip to Gettysburg, and I think that’s when it started. I was also lucky to have a lot of good history teachers, made me see the relevance of the subject.


How do you like Oakland Catholic so far?

I really like it. I’m really really thankful for the circumstances that brought me to Oakland Catholic. It is a school filled with really wonderful students and faculty.


Since you came at the end of the school year last year, what are some things that you missed that you are looking forward to during this school year?


I love Halloween so much, and when I had heard how big OC takes Halloween, I felt really at home with that. Also, everything that’s around the holidays. I am also looking forward to seeing where this year’s senior class heads off to and being able to wish them their best. 


At this point in the interview, I asked about the history department’s Halloween costume for this year. Sadly, Ms. Wall declined to comment, only noting that it is a secret 🙁


What would someone be surprised to know about you?


I really don’t like strawberries. I’ve had bad experiences with them, and my first encounters with them set the stage for my dislike of them.  And I used to really dislike flying despite my love of travel. That fear has gotten better. I studied abroad in the Czech Republic, so I had to get used to flying.


Is there any advice you would like to give the student body of Oakland Catholic?


High school students should always challenge themselves to take those chances and good risks. Take advantage of the opportunities that Oakland has to offer you. And going forward even beyond OC, you are capable of so much more than you think you are, so never be afraid to try. 

I’ve always found that people are more similar than we are different, and I guess this can relate to traveling too; I knew when I was going abroad that I was going to talk to my seat neighbor on the plane. Those conversations were the most memorable parts of my studying abroad. So for instance, my flight going from Newark to London, I was talking to this man and I told him about my fear of flying and he told me, “Don’t worry, we’ll talk the entire time.” And we had a great conversation, he told me about his life and being an engineer. It helped me get through the flight and I will always take that conversation with me. So my advice is to be friendly to people.